The NHS prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) is available to anyone living in England looking to reduce their monthly outgoings for prescriptions.

The ‘season ticket’ style card provides patients with a way to save money on prescriptions when they know that they require a certain number of items each month.

If you live in England the current prescription charge per item is £8.80, which means that the cost of prescriptions can soon add up if you require several items each month.

Before you purchase a PPC you should check that you do not qualify for free prescriptions.

On this page we’ll cover:

What is a prescription prepayment certificate?

The NHS prepayment certificate is a card that you pay for in advance to cover the cost of your upcoming prescriptions. It can be bought as a three-month PPC for £29.10 or a 12-month PPC for £104.

People taking out a yearly PPC can also pay for it each month by direct debit.

The prepaid card is the size of a bank card and holds your name, certificate number and the start and end date of your certificate.

Will a PPC save me money?

This depends on how many prescriptions you require over a specific period of time.

For example, if you pay for four or more prescriptions every three months, at a cost of £35.20, then you could save £6.10 by purchasing a three-month prepaid prescription card.

If you purchase more than 13 prescriptions over a 12-month period, at a cost of £114.40, then you could save £10.40 with a 12-month PPC.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the potential savings.

Patients who pay for:

  • One prescription each month can save £1.60 with a 12-month PPC.
  • Two prescriptions each month can save £107.20 with a 12-month PPC.
  • Three prescriptions each month can save £212.80 with a 12-month PPC.
  • Four prescriptions each month can save £318.40 with a 12-month PPC.

How do I apply for a prepayment card?

There are four different ways to apply for a prepaid prescription card:

  1. Online. The online PPC (or FP95) application form is a highly convenient way for many people to purchase their prepaid card. Your card should arrive in the post soon after completing the online form.
  2. By telephone on 0300 330 1341. This option allows you to pay by debit or credit card or to set up a direct debit monthly payment. Make sure that you have your card details ready when making the call.
  3. By post. Your GP surgery should be able to supply you with an application form for you to fill in and send in the post. You can also download and print an application form hereCompleted forms should be sent to:

NHSBSA, PPC, Bridge House,152 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 6SN

If you apply via post you can pay with cheque or postal order.

  1. Or at a registered pharmacy. You can hand a completed FP95 application form to the staff at a registered pharmacy. This way you can pay for your PPC at the till but you will not be able to opt for the direct debit payments. You can check if your local pharmacy is registered as part of the scheme here.

When you purchase your NHS prepayment card you can select the date when you want it to be valid from. This can be up to one month in advance if you need your PPC to start on a certain date; or this can be one month behind if you have NHS receipts for prescriptions you have paid full price for in the past month.

If you have paid for a prescription before your card arrives you can apply for a refund. You must ask for an NHS receipt (or FP57) when you purchase your prescription item.  

Once your PPC arrives you should take it with you to present to the pharmacy when picking up your prescriptions, as it will act as evidence of prepayment.

Can my family use my PPC?

Unfortunately not. One NHS prepayment card is assigned to the named user only.

Remember that there are certain groups of people who are exempt from prescription charges:

  • those who are over the age of 60;
  • those under the age of 16;
  • and those between the ages of 16 and 18 and still in full-time education.

You can read the full list of NHS England prescription exemptions here.